How to Start Oil Painting: Essential Supplies for Beginners

While there is a wide range of oil painting supplies you can get, making it quite hard to choose, especially if you are a beginner, with some guidance you can get there faster. The good news for beginners is that, to start with this hobby, you’ll only need a few things.

oil painting equipments


What Do You Need to Get Started?

Regardless of whether you like to paint or draw and what you like to use, whether it’s pastels, colour pencils, watercolours, acrylic, or anything else, there are three basic things you need: the medium itself, a way to apply it, and a surface on which you are going to make your art.

When we are talking about oil painting, the list is quite similar. You will need paint and brushes and support (the surface). However, there are some other supplies you’ll need because of how oil paint is applied: something to put the paint on, something to mix it and something to clean up. In order to buy quality oil painting equipments, you should learn some basics so that you know which ones are right for you.



Oil Paint

Like all other paints, oil paints are made of pigment. The quality of the paint generally depends on these components. For instance, the higher the concentration of the pigment, the higher the quality of the paint. Oil paints dry slower than other media, which makes it easier to blend colours. Furthermore, they have greater opacity, the viscosity of the paint allows for thicker application, textured brushstrokes, layers, etc.

The prices of the paint also vary based on pigment. Pigments can be natural or synthetic, and the price will depend on the difficulty to obtain the pigment if it’s natural, or the difficulty to manufacture it if it’s synthetic. Furthermore, the price and the quality of the paint will also reflect its level of lightfastness. In other words, the better quality the oil paint is, the less likely it will be for the colours to fade over time and more likely to stay original to the original painting. Next, the paint has a different rate of permanence.

Paints that fade easier than better quality ones aren’t acceptable for artists, and, while professional oil paint is the best quality, if you are just beginning, you don’t need to go for the most expensive right from the get-go, but try to buy the best quality oil painting equipments you can afford.

When you are choosing your first paints, you will also need to decide which colours you will get. If you are a beginner the idea is to not buy a lot of colours, but instead make a good choice of a few colours which will allow you to mix a broad range of colours, and then with time, you can start adding pigments. One way is to start with the three primary colours – red, blue, yellow, and also white and black. Try to find pigments that allow for easier mixing, such as cadmium red medium, cadmium yellow medium, ultramarine blue, titanium white and ivory black.

Painting Knife


Palette and Painting Knife

The next item on the list of equipment for oil painting is a palette, where you will put your paint, and a painting knife to mix the paint. There are many different options for both. As a beginner, you can go for a disposable paper palette, since they are very convenient and they can be the cleanest option. However, for oil paint, there are many other options that are good: plastic, wood, aluminium, glass, etc. Painting knives are optional, however, it’s easier to mix thick paint with them than it is with a brush.

Art Brushes



Brushes come in many different styles, sizes, shapes… so it’s difficult to name all of them. However, they can be divided into five types according to their shape: round, flat, filbert, bright and fan. Understandably, with so many options, choosing the right brush isn’t an easy task, especially when you are just starting.

Like with oil paints, when you are buying brushes, you should try to buy the best quality you can afford. Unfortunately, it will depend a lot on you and your preferences. If you are a beginner, and you still haven’t chosen yours, it will most likely take some time and experimentation. You’ll need to try different types and different sizes. and there may be some trial and error may be required.